WCO Secretary General participates in International Customs Forum in Moscow

25 October 2021

On 23 October 2021, at the invitation of the Federal Customs Service (FCS) of the Russian Federation, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), attended the International Customs Forum in Moscow, Russia. He also met with the Minister of Finance of Russia to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the WCO and the Russian Federation.

At the opening of the International Customs Forum, following the welcome speeches by Mr. Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and Mr. Anton Siluanov, Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation, a high-level panel discussion was held with the participation of the WCO Secretary General, the Acting Head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, the General Director of the Russian Railways as well as key representatives from the private sector and the representative of the Vice-Chair of the WCO Europe Region from Greece.

The panellists discussed the changing trade and transport landscape, including the new transit routes and e-commerce as well as the need for further digitization of Customs procedures. Dr. Mikuriya emphasized the crucial role of Customs in improving the business environment through consolidation of the Customs-Business partnership and highlighted the importance of Coordinated Border Management through cooperation with other government agencies. Other panellists voiced their support for building trust between Customs, the business sector and other trade stakeholders. The discussions pointed to a need for a change of mindset on the part of all the parties involved in technology management.

In the margins of his visit, the WCO Secretary General attended a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation. Both sides highly appreciated the positive development of cooperation between the WCO and the Russian Federation in recent years and discussed a number of promising avenues and directions for future cooperation.

Mr. Siluanov, noted that the WCO is undoubtedly the main international organization responsible for setting global rules and standards in the field of Customs. He stressed that the FCS is one of the most active Members of the WCO, with extensive experience of the practical and administrative work of the Organization, as well as in the implementation of international WCO instruments, and highlighted that the Customs Administration operates in accordance with the highest standards of quality.

Dr. Mikuriya emphasized the importance of information technology and the tremendous potential of the Russian Federation in sharing with the WCO Members its knowledge and experience relating to the collection and analysis of information involving large amounts of data. The Secretary General noted that Customs are one of the key agencies at the border, performing a wide range of tasks over and above the collection of revenue, including economic development, the protection of society, security and the facilitation of cross-border trade. He concluded that, from the data available from other agencies and businesses, it is evident that Customs should be seen as a key consultative body to advise governments on rationales, major trends, reforms and strategic objectives.